Tracy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: The Raven Club #3
Release Date: 10/14/19
Lady Olivia Swift and Tristian Cameron, the Duke of Keswick met by chance when Olivia, who is attending his grandmother’s house party, escapes out the stables. She mistakes Tristian for a groom and he makes no attempt to correct her. When she comes back to the stables to ride, Tristian accompanies her and they share a kiss. Later when Olivia is accused of a crime, she names Tristian as her alibi. This leads to a hasty marriage of convenience.
Tristian has a speech impediment, he stutters and has been shamed and ridiculed for a good portion of his life. He keeps to himself and has refused to marry and have children. He is content to let his cousin Spencer inherit. He is enraged and believes that Olivia trapped him into marriage – he makes it clear on their wedding day that he will never be a true husband – he then proceeds to tell her she is to stay in the country and leaves for London.
At first Olivia is devastated, but his grandmother sets her straight and sends her off to London. Once there Olivia meets Spencer and learns that Tristian never plans to father children, she is stunned, especially after she saw him interact with her niece and nephew, she knew he was angry, but assumed eventually he would want an heir. When she confronts him, he confirms, he will not share her bed. Olivia doesn’t give up and enriches Tristian’s life in many ways. For his part, Tristian wants Olivia, but he is not willing to risk having a child, yet the more time he spends with her, the more he is falling under her spell and finally gives in to his desire, but almost immediately regrets it and stubbornly refrains from physical contact, but still spends time with her. Olivia is encouraged and is ready to tell him she loves him and to share her secret, but her hopes of a HEA are shattered when someone leaks a secret about Tristian to the papers and he immediately accuses her and her sister. It is the proverbial straw and leads her to leave him. Will he finally open his eyes and see Olivia is perfect for him or will he keep them closed and lose the love of a lifetime?
The idea of this story was good – mistaken identity, marriage of convenience and a hero who has to overcome emotional and physical impediments – but for me, it fell flat and I place that blame squarely on Tristian, he was such a jerk to her, always assuming the worst and pushing her away, right up until the last chapter and then he did a complete about-face about everything – I just didn’t believe it. There were also formal address issues and I was not happy that the reader never finds out what happened to the villain. Otherwise, it was well written and the story had a lot of potential and if I had been able to connect with Tristian, I might have felt differently, because Olivia was great and I LOVED Ellie in this book.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*